Claremont gets big 37-0 win on homecoming night

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

It was a homecoming night to remember for the Claremont High School varsity football team, who utterly dominated the Chaffey High School Tigers, running out a 37-0 final on Friday.

Friday’s matchup was somewhat of a wildcard game for the Wolfpack, according Head Coach Shane Hile, who said, “Whoever would have won that game would advance to the playoffs.

“You could try for an at-large bid but we knew we had our destiny in our own hands and so we had to take care of it and get it done,” Coach Hile said.

It seems almost cut and dry to say both the offense and defense did their job, but that’s exactly what happened. The Wolfpack offense generated all 37 points for the team, with junior running back Raymond Rosales getting three touchdowns alone. Claremont’s defense also held the Tiger’s offense at bay across four quarters, giving Chaffey a new set of downs just twice.

The first two plays foreshadowed what would be a rough night for the Tigers. Claremont received the opening kickoff and returned it, inside their own 48-yard line. On the following play, junior running back Caden Campuzano covered the remaining 48 yards with a blistering run past the Tigers defense. The score was 7-0 after a good point after touchdown (PAT).

Claremont started their next drive inside their own 35-yard line, but junior quarterback Nathan Giles picked up a huge 62-yard gain on the second play, setting up a first and goal on Chaffey’s three-yard line. Chaffey drove the Wolfpack back two yards and forced a fourth down situation, but Giles drove himself five yards into the end zone. Following the PAT, the first quarter finished 14-0 in favor of Claremont.

On their second possession, Chaffey tried to establish a running game and even picked up a first down on their first play, but were forced to punt after going four and out.

On Claremont’s third drive, Chaffey’s defense was able to hold the Wolfpack offense to a 37-yard field goal, which Giles was able to convert, making the score 17-0. On Claremont’s next possession, Rosales capped off a 12-play drive by picking up his first touchdown with a strong two-yard run through the Chaffey defense. At halftime, the score was already 24-0.

At halftime, senior August Waggener was given the special honor of homecoming queen and fireworks followed the big news.

At 3 p.m. in Memorial Park, senior Viraj Vrkvdey was crowned homecoming king.

Chaffey received the second half kick-off but was quickly met by Wolfpack special teams at their own 13-yard line. The Tigers picked up their second, but final, first down of the game, and were forced to punt after not being able to get through the Wolfpack defense. The following drives confirmed that Chaffey really had no answer for Claremont’s passing and running coverage.

Beginning at Chaffey’s 41-yard line on their opening drive of the half, Claremont again found success. It took just two passes from Giles to drive the Wolfpack 40 yards down the field, and only one 9-yard touchdown run from Rosales to make the score 30-0. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

Rosales wrapped up the third quarter and earned his third touchdown of the evening when he took the ball 23-yards on Claremont’s next possession. With a good PAT this time, the third quarter ended 37-0.

Both teams appeared drained of energy going into the final quarter, and with the game already out of reach for the Tigers, both appeared to have let the clock wind down during the fourth.
Claremont’s big 37-0 victory boosted their San Antonio League record to 2-1, and 5-5 overall. The Wolfpack ended their season on Friday as runners-up in league, with West Covina High School taking the title.

But Claremont’s second place league finish, positive record and strength of schedule played in favor for the team, who will be going into their third consecutive postseason according to Coach Hile. (Although CIF playoffs were suspended last year, the Wolfpack finished as San Antonio league champions which would have granted them a playoff berth.)

“We’re very happy that this our third consecutive non-losing season. Our third consecutive year — in our minds — of making the playoffs, so I think the boys are very excited,” Coach Hile said.

Hile added that while the team has had success getting to the playoffs over the years, moving past the first round has been an obstacle. “We’re looking for our first playoff victory in 19 years. Coach Collins did a great job and got us our last playoff victory,” he said.

Mike Collins, now the Pack’s athletic director, led Claremont’s football program for many years.
This Friday at 7 p.m., the Wolfpack will open their first round of CIF-Southern Section Division IX playoffs on the road against Arroyo High School at 4921 North Cedar Ave. in El Monte.

The Wolfpack are a ninth seed going into the postseason and are matched up against a strong, eighth seeded Knights team. Arroyo finished with a 10-0 record overall and first in the Mission Valley league.

“I think if things unfold well for us and we win Friday night, and we think Laguna will win [against Chino High School], then we would play the number one seed at home the following Friday [November 12].”

“But of course,” Coach Hile said, “we definitely have to focus on Arroyo first.”

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